Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wisconsin Knife Reform Effective 7 February, 2016

The wide and deep reform of Wisconsin Knife law, signed into law by Governor Scott Walker, went into effect on 7 February this year.  At the signing ceremony, the Governor and others were given commemorative automatic knives.

The inscription on the Pro-Tech TR-4 includes the Wisconsin Seal, Governor  Scott Walker's name, and a commemoration of the event.  Representative Kathleen Bernier, Senator Terry Moulton and Travis Hakes, a peace officer who suggested the reform to Representative Bernier, all received Hogue EX-A01 automatic knives to commemorate the occasion.

Laws in Wisconsin do not go into effect immediately.  They have to be published, which usually occurs a day after the Governor signs them.  The acts become effective the next day.  Governor Scott Walker signed Act 149 on Saturday, February 6th, the Act was published on Sunday, 7 February, and went into effect on Monday, the 8th of February, 2016.  From
  Date of enactment: February 6, 2016
2015 Assembly Bill 142 Date of publication*: February 7, 2016

* Section 991.11, Wisconsin Statutes: Effective date of acts. "Every act and every portion of an act enacted by the legislature over the governor's partial veto which does not expressly prescribe the time when it takes effect shall take effect on the day after its date of publication."
The enactment of act 149 ends a long train of abuses, especially of minorities, where innocent people were fined, jailed and/or had their property confiscated for merely exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Nearly all local knife laws are made invalid in Wisconsin with the enactment of this long awaited reform legislation.  Political subdivisions of Wisconsin, such as cities and counties, will still be able to enact ordinances banning the carry of knives in specific buildings.

It appears that under relevant Wisconsin law, the University of Wisconsin does not qualify as a political subdivision of the state.  From
66.0409  Local regulation of weapons.
(1) In this section:
(a) "Firearm" has the meaning given in s. 167.31 (1) (c).
(b) "Political subdivision" means a city, village, town or county.
(c) "Sport shooting range" means an area designed and operated for the practice of weapons used in hunting, skeet shooting and similar sport shooting.
(2) Except as provided in subs. (3) and (4), no political subdivision may enact or enforce an ordinance or adopt a resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration, or taxation of any knife or any firearm or part of a firearm, including ammunition and reloader components, unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.
The University of Wisconsin has there own school regulations, that can be used to suspend or expel students and staff of the school.  But those regulations do not apply to people who have no contract with the University of Wisconsin; union rules may apply to many of the University of Wisconsin staff, making the carry of tools such as knives a subject for union negotiation.

The ban on switchblade knives never made any sense.  It was enacted in 1956 as part of the emotionally driven, fact free media frenzy about urban gangs.  The play "West Side Story" may have been the driver that finally pushed enactment of the silly legislation over the top.

Wisconsin law also allowed people to be charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mere possession of a pocket knife.  I recall being told of a case where a Milwaukee judge found a man guilty of concealed carry because his Buck folding knife was "concealed" in the leather scabbard on his belt!

Those bad old days are now over.  Governor Walker may well be the best Wisconsin Governor, ever.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and do not play one on the Internets.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

1 comment:

Greg said...

Sounds like a good piece of legislation that rights an archaic law from the 50's. Many other states now allow switchblade style knives. Knives are no longer a huge cause for concern as legislators are now focusing their attention on open versus concealed gun laws, which has boded well for citizens fond of carrying a knife.